As few or none prescriptive guidelines for fire risk assessment of residential high-rise buildings exist, it has been unclear which fire safety design features constitute an acceptable (adequate) safety level. In order to fill this gap a simplified risk-based decision-support tool, the Fire Risk Model (FRM), was developed. The FRM evaluates both the risk level to the occupants and the property risk level as a function of the building characteristics, height and fire safety features for single stairwell residential high-rise buildings. The acceptability of a high-rise design is then defined through comparison with the risk level associated with a 22 m high prescriptive design. The FRM and its applicability are introduced by summarily revisiting the concept of equivalency and adequate safety. The underlying assumptions and the pitfalls of equivalency assessments are discussed, and the associated performance of the FRM evaluated. It was found that compartmentation and the door configurations in the egress path play an important role, along with sprinklers, in order for the design to successfully keep the stairwell free from smoke. Specifically, modern curtain wall facades were found to result in a reduced safety level compared to traditional facades with a spandrel. When opting for a modern curtain wall, additional safety features were found to be required in order to obtain an equivalent safety level.